New Moon in Virgo: The Lingua Franca


My husband and I have a long-standing disagreement about language. I’m kind of a grammar, punctuation, and spelling nazi. I believe that respecting these elements of our language brings precision to our discourse and helps us make ourselves understood. Plus, attention to these details suggests to me that a person has made an effort to educate himself. In much the same way that many whippet-thin people judge me for being overweight, I’m prejudiced against those who have refused to master the use of the apostrophe. There is a difference between plural, possessive, and contractions, and it is a difference that should have been mastered in grade school.

My husband, on the other hand – though his command of English is probably better than my own – takes a much more liberal approach to the subject. His opinion is that language is a dynamic, fluid, ever-evolving thing, and that common usage – NOT long-standing rules – dictates what is acceptable.

We all have ideas about how the world should be, and we nearly all draw lines in the sand about what is and is not acceptable. However open-minded, evolved, and permissive we consider ourselves to be, we all have standards against which we evaluate our fellow human beings. Separating the wheat from the chaff is an important part of building a society. In astrology we call this power of discernment “Virgo.” And during the time Saturn, the planet of rules and regulations has been moving through Virgo, there has been a resurgent clamor to enshrine our personal standards in laws that everyone must follow.

Unfortunately for our exacting Virgo standards – but perhaps to the benefit of humanity – Uranus has been moving through Pisces at the same time. Uranus is an iconoclast who delights in breaking rules and leveling traditions. Pisces is the sign of the collective, the zeitgeist, a blurry and impressionistic portrait that nevertheless captures an artful representation of real life. And Uranus in Pisces is the texting adolescent who ignores nearly all my beloved rules of grammar, punctuation, and even capitalization – yet magically, infuriatingly, manages to make herself understood. Which, according to my Uranus-rising husband, is just as it should be.

At this New Moon in Virgo, the Sun is conjunct unyielding Saturn, with both in a near-perfect opposition to Uranus. This New Moon period caps a long, contentious summer in the United States. The news has been filled with ugly, racially-charged battles about health care reform. Those who stand with Saturn in Virgo contend that health care is strictly a matter of personal responsibility, and on the other side stands the Uranus in Pisces souls who empathize with those who have suffered under the current system and are ready to throw out the whole corrupt, inhumane mess and build something new from scratch.

Health care reform is an important, even urgent issue. I wish we’d get it resolved, if only because I’m getting sick of thinking about it and writing about it. But it’s also indicative of a larger fault line running through the country. There are those who believe in collectivism – let’s call them the Uranus in Pisces people – and those who don’t (we’ll call them the Saturn in Virgo crowd). There are those who believe we are all part of a larger whole, and those who want nothing to do with sharing a planet with people who don’t live up to their standards. The fissure has grown over the years until it has become an abyss.

It’s been sobering, in the course of this meditation, to realize that my tyrannical insistence on proper grammar probably places me in the same camp as those holding up ugly, poorly spelled and racist signs at rallies. It may seem hyperbolic to claim we are one in the same; but the Virgo urge for discrimination that leads me to insist that others follow the rules of grammar is just a hair’s breadth from a different kind of discrimination. Both are ways of dividing the human race into discrete factions – us and them. And that way of thinking makes it increasingly difficult to see ourselves as part of one society, and to work together to solve societal problems.

So, let’s all come together. Let’s introduce universal health care at a reasonable cost to all Americans, and I will offer this pact: Anyone who is able to correctly use and punctuate all forms of the word “there/their/they’re” will be welcome to lecture me about what I eat and how much exercise I’m getting. You see, I’ve paid taxes since 1981 to give everyone the opportunity to learn basic literacy skills in a public school. I’ve done this despite the fact that I have no children, never planned to have any children. In other words, I have happily paid into a system that does not benefit me personally, not just because I’m obligated to do so – but because I dream of someday living in a country in which every store sign is punctuated correctly.

© 2009 April Elliott Kent
All rights reserved.


6 comments to " New Moon in Virgo: The Lingua Franca "

  • Pam Mitchell

    Wonderful essay. As an Dbl. Aquarius with moon/Pisces and Saturn in Virgo I whole heartedly agree with you. I do believe in personal responsibility and I believe that it is my responsibility to support a health care system that will take care of those who cannot take care of themselves, the young the old and the uninsured. Not everyone in this life is lucky or blessed enough to work at a job that offers great healthcare. I know of a young family that has three children, the middle son, Ethan, has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Luckily the mother has good health care but even then they will wind up selling their home to pay their deductibles to save their son’s life. Every life is precious. Good health for all of us means a good healthy country. Thank You April for bringing this subject up.

  • Loved this post. Yay for Virgo and yay for Pisces.

  • […] lives comprise those drops of the Piscean Ocean, the Ocean of Everything and Everyone. As April E. Kent so succinctly pointed out in her compelling essay, we can look at congress, then we might look at […]

  • Best Fiction

    Thanks for writing about last week’s New Moon! It was quite a handful for me.

    The New Moon fell exactly on my Ascendant degree along with Saturn, so I expected something momentous to happen. After an uneventful Friday evening, I was starting to wonder about astrological timing…

    ..and then my room mate got into a fight with some shady characters on our street. After two calls to the police, we’ve temporarily moved out and are looking for a new place. I wonder if the Ascendant, as the “doorway” to the chart, can symbolize the door to our condo, and Saturn as the guy up-to-no-good, demanding a fight.

    Anyways, hope everyone else experienced Friday’s Moon somewhat less profoundly.

  • Pam, what a heartbreaking story. The scary thing is how many of us can add our own accounts of people we know – or even ourselves – being on the verge of physical and financial collapse due to this heartless and dysfunctional system.

    And yes, NR – yay for Virgo, yay for Pisces, yay for the intrinsic grace and wisdom of polarities!

    Best Fiction, Yes! There’s definitely a connection between the Ascendant and all sorts of portals into our worlds… bodies, houses, computers! I’m awfully sorry to hear about your situation and hope you land safely in a new and happier environment. Scary!

    Years ago, when tr. Pluto crossed my Ascendant there was a literal, dramatic, and very ugly change in my living situation. I’d always placed all home-related situations in the 4th house in my mind, but that transit really gave me an appreciation for the Ascendant and its connection to thresholds. Be well…

  • Best Fiction

    Thanks for the good wishes, April! I’d like to see the move as Saturn saying, “Hey, this place is not the best place you could be right now – it’s even potentially dangerous. If you won’t realize it yourself, let me show you!”

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